Maple Leafs may make lineup switch for Game 6

The Leafs missed their first chance to knock out the Lightning.



The Toronto Maple Leafs missed out on their first of three opportunities to send the Tampa Bay Lightning home for an early summer in last night's Game 5 of their Round 1 Stanley Cup Playoffs series. Tampa Bay rebounded from an early deficit on the scoreboard with three straight tallies and held on for what would eventually be a 4-2 triumph, sending the series back to Tampa Bay's Amalie Arena for Game 6. 

The Maple Leafs underwent a lineup change with the suspension of feisty forward Michael Bunting for elbowing Tampa's Erik Cernak in the head midway through Game 1; Bunting was banned for three games, while Cernak has yet to return to action. Bunting was essentially replaced in the lineup by rookie Matthew Knies, who has played very well in his first NHL postseason. 

However, it sounds as though Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe could be considering re-inserting Bunting into the lineup based on comments that he made earlier today.

"He'd bring energy," Keefe said of Bunting. "In both how he plays and also the fact he hasn't played. As the series goes on, it weighs on everybody, the grind that it is. So having a guy who hasn't played (since Game 1) come in can give us a boost." 

Bunting appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Leafs this season, scoring 23 goals while adding 26 assists. Game 6 between the Lightning and Maple Leafs will be tomorrow night starting at 7:00 PM EST.